3 Questions and a Poem–in which one of my favorite poets is interviewed and shares a poem.
What do you consider the three most important elements of a poem?
- Word choices that enchant.
The poem’s ending should be either unexpected or a delightful detour. Or, as Stanley Kunitz said, “End with an image and don’t explain.”
What’s your best advice for writing poetry?
READ POETRY!! Read every type and style of poetry, especially poetry from foreign
countries and from different centuries. Even here in the U.S., west coast, Midwest, southern, and east coast writers are refreshingly different. Always be seeking something new-to-you to read.
GO TO POETRY READINGS in person or online. Listening to “what’s out there” can be stimulating or infuriating, but it all makes poets THINK. (P.S. hearing other poets read also teaches you what to do and what not to do when presenting your own poems in public.)
TAKE CLASSES. Learn the classic forms then freewrite. Take more classes.
And, when you’re ready to write:
- Make your verbs sing.
- Edit, edit, edit.
- Read your poems out loud, or have someone else read them out loud. You’ll learn the most by hearing the poem that was created in your head.
What’s the one poem that everyone should read today?
Rather than suggest one poem, which I would never presume that everyone should read, I suggest everyone should seek poems of contemporary poets living in countries in peril: Palestinians and Israelis, Syrians and Iranians, Ukrainians and Russians; just check the front page of the newspaper for ideas. The universality of their literature will easily become apparent, and hopefully, reading these poets will enable us all to understand how we are more alike than different.
Or, consider this short poem from Yehuda Amichai, the late, great Israeli poet that is, to my mind,
about a tiny, innocent moment genuinely human, truly universal.
Forgetting Someone Forgetting someone is like forgetting to turn off the light in the back yard, so it stays lit all the next day. But then it’s the light that makes you remember.
Or, this more provocative one of Amichai’s which says all it needs to say in exactly the way it needs to be said.
A Dog After Love After you left me I had a bloodhound sniff at my chest and my belly. Let it fill its nostrils and set out to find you. I hope it will find you and rip your lover’s balls to shreds and bit off his cock— or at least bring me one of your stockings between its teeth.
“HIGH STAKES & EXPECTATIONS” contains micro flash and poems divided into two segments: High Stakes, work that often makes the reader hold their breath while they read toward the outcome, and Expectations work that echoes the hope and optimism of expecting life to take a turn for the better. The poems are by turns funny, poignant, life affirming, and compassionate and reflect Diana’s keen narrative voice and unique word choices and phrases to describe the ordinary in fresh new ways.
& a POEM
A sample poem from “High Stakes & Expectations”
Fever by Diana Rosen We pace like pumas flutter like birds circle one another ‘til a sky of surety unites sweet flowers of lips. The Chinese astrologer said we had once been the same person. That somehow, the cosmos split us apart brought us back together, or maybe we are just two people on the edge of loneliness who did not run away this time.
About the Author
DIANA ROSEN is an essayist, flash writer, and poet whose work appears in Drunken Monkeys, Tiferet Journal, Rattle, and many other print and online journals in the U.S., England, Canada,
Australia, and India. She writes content for web sites on tea, coffee, spices, and honey in Los Angeles where her “backyard” is the 4,200+acre Griffith Park, the largest urban green space in the country. To read other flash and poetry (and her commercial writing), please her portfolio site at
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